Then there are those of you who have joined the revolution against paper. A paperless age where the iPhone and Blackberry are king, where you sync your calendar wirelessly to you computer each day. You add tasks on the go, sometimes straight from that email or text. You have a task list and a grocery list on the go constantly, updating it as you go. It automatically emails you things you already knew. Who needs a memory in the 21st century anyway?
Then there is me. I LOVE pen on paper. I love to make notes as I go. I love my iPhone. As much as I would love to lean towards being either a paper peep or a techno peep, I just cant do it. My yearly planners generally dont see it through the first month - between my mindlessness and my two year olds obsession with all things "paper and pen", my beloved moleskin all to often falls into the hands of our in house vandal. "Keep it out of his reach!" you say... "Teach him its yours!" you jeer! Well, both points taken into account - its no good to me out of HIS reach - it'd have to be behind a 6inch steel safe door to keep him from finding it (then there is always the business of remembering which "safe place" I used THIS time... ) and onto the teach him its mine thing, well, I could do that. Only, it would cost the vandalism of many a planner, transferring the remaining discernible information (if the book was ever found that is) into a new one only to never have it where I need it incase he gets it. You get the picture Im sure.
Then there is my iPhone. OK so yeah, Im lame. Im at the point where I feel that the quality of my life would be significantly lower without it. Email, facebook, ebay, the weather, the news, my budget, my camera - not to mention the fact that this remarkable device also houses this smart bit of kit that allows you to make a telephone call! But the calander function on it is abhorrent. You cant just write on the line, next to the time that you want, what you wanna do. You cant use the useless times of day line like 2am - 6am and 8pm-12pm lines to write grocery lists and doodle while you're on hold. Oh sorry, is that really only me? It just doesnt cut it.
SO the solution you ask? Fair enough, im blabbling on and on... An old frame (which I once had a plan for) some MDF from the hardware store, and a tin of blackboard paint. A (beautiful) black board.
Out of reach - check!
Storage facility for writing implement (I use the moulded frame hold my chalk!) - check!
Close to the place I generally realise mid way through a nappy change that Im out of wipes (my kitchen floor) - check!
Not a huge expense incase I fail dismally to use it - check!
So heres what I did.
I spray painted this frame I found at a charity shop some years ago on my grass LAST summer. The stencil it created lasted all through the summer, I was impressed as I was disturbed. I then realised that having a mirror cut in the UK is WAY more expensive that buying the whole shibang. What to do: Store it for a year in the shed and move house twice until chipped and vintage looking (or just knock it about a bit to chip off some paint, very easy to achieve if you didnt bother to use a primer).
Decide on a whim to buy some MDF, blackboard paint and the cheapest paintbrush in the shop so as to render it disposible (even the most frugal of you would agree if you have ever used blackboard paint before - TOXIC). Budget £5 ($7.50)
Come home with your two little ones in the rain and paint one coat of blackboard paint onto your MDF while spoon feeding your 9month old intermittently (while he sits facing the rain in front of the open double doors to the garden, so as to be well ventilated!). Encourage your two year old to sit tight at his table and eat his peas. All of this must be completed wearing a pretty white blouse!
Leave your first coat to air-dry while you bathe your babies, and once they are settled in their beds return to the supper dishes not forgetting to bring your hair dryer down to the kitchen from upstairs en route back from the boys' room. Use the hairdryer to help the paint drying along... We all have a limit to our patience - save yours for your children and husband - trust me on this one. Keep weeeellll ventilated!
Remove your brush from the ziplock bag you used to stop the paint drying on your brush while you were getting on with life and slap on a second coat. Make tea and watch paint dry for a little - contemplate supper dishes. Help the drying along again. Do dishes.
Force the MDF you inevitably cut 2mm too wide (youre likely to have done this with a paper scalpel and a steel ruler while you kids ran around you in the hall) into the frame. Pop in some tacs and HANG that baby.
Stand back and admire.
For me a place for the chalk was really important - what goods a board without it ey? Well, if you do this make sure your frame has a lip that holds your chalk in place.
Whaaat? Oh, yeah. That. I hear you, this still doesnt solve the problem of keeping you list WITH you. Having it at the shop when you need it without having to RE WRITE or type it all into a list. To solve this problem, we simply take a picture. Your "mobile blackboard". Finding a way of reminding myself to do this BEFORE I go shopping - well, we are still working on that! But LOOK - things are getting crossed off!
Im far from perfect. So very, very far from perfect. But this silly project has changed my life. After two years of remembering every few months how much I love tobasco, and then forgetting to buy it, I now have TWO bottles in my cupboard (they were on sale).
Be warned - people will find themselves compelled to draw things on your board.
Im thinking of making one just for notes for hubby, and one day when I OWN my house im going to paint a WHOLE kitchen wall ... you guessed it - BLACK!
Who needs a book, anyway?